I see that this thread has been revivied, and it's an intriguing poll and topic. The overwhelming vote seems to be that the "similarities between abductees and psychotic narratives should be explored." The runner up is "psychosis should not eliminate the possibility of a true abductee account." They seem to me to be a bit contradictory, but that's the nature of humanity and the ubiquity of psychological issues among us all, and I'd include myself.
I do believe strongly that a clear definition of psychosis can be and has been arrived at, the full blown kind that has clear auditory, paranoiac, visual, etc. symptoms. I read, probably too much, clinical psychiatric stuff, and even the DSM used by psychiatrists and psychologists is fascinating, but you can find tiny droplets of yourself in many of the lists of qualifying symptoms provided. Read Psychiatric Times for controversy swirling about the new DSM in progress. I do think, however, that psychiatry is more of a science than many people would like to believe, though it is often off the cuff dismissed. I won't quote the official, so to speak, definition of psychosis, it can be found, and allowances are clearly made for, and just off the top of my head and from my memory, psychotic disorder not brought on by...................., and on and on. But clear and full blown psychosis I think is pretty readily determined, and in my opinion should be excluded from consideration of an abduction experience, or rather, and this sounds contradictory, the psychosis itself IS the true explanation OF THE "ALIEN ABDUCTION." I don't see how this possibility should NOT be an easy determination, and that's the end of the matter. Further exploration of that person's experience should be dismissed, yes, out of hand, except for sympathy, help, and yes, a prescription for medication. Psychosis/schizophrenia/etc. are devastating illnesses. And this is NOT a criticism of Hotkafka's poll; I don't think I could have come up with better statements to vote on, and I do genuinely bow to his personal qualifications and experience as a psychotherapist.
Even the Axis II personality disorders, nasty little beasts that wreak destruction on others, are a matter of elevation on a scale of personality traits we all possess. Borderline PD can have transient episodes of dissociation and psychosis. I think clear cases of psychosis, again, should be excluded, or again, included for a time period to then dismiss the possibility that the "abduction" could be "true."
But then that gets us into the runner up in the poll. What's a "true abductee account"? I take it to mean, perhaps wrongly, as an account believed by the experiencer to be true, but aren't they all believed in by the experiencers? My opinion is that the whole premise of an "alien abduction" as actual fact that an actual alien/visitor was involved(!) should be categorically dismissed, if not for psychotic reasons pretty readily discernable, than for consideration of other possibilities that have been studied, and really, there are not many to choose from. But an actual event: preposterous, and an affront to rationality. As a study of PSYCHOLOGY, of human nature, of spirituality, yes, yes, yes, deserving of study, and study has been done.
I agree with Hotkafka that research into transpersonal states is interesting. Some very respected scientists have studied that, the study by Rick Strassman with DMT, or more to what Hotkafka speaks of, Near Death Experiences. There are extensive discussions on a podcast I haven't listed to for a while, but did and want to return to, it's called Skeptiko, I think, and there are some reputable researchers on that show on either side of that topic.
There are, in my memory and yes, my opinion, these explanations for "alien abduction" experiences, and you can see my other posts on this on another thread:
1. Ok, psychosis. And this may well be the case, and I think, as above, that can be pretty accurately determined, and end of matter. I'm not saying that psychosis shouldn't be studied in and of itself, my Heavens no, and Carl Jung's opinion was that they were a window into archetypes released by some sort of brain dysfunction that allows the unconscious, personal and collective, to break through. I know, a simplification.
2. sleep paralysis. The most common and accepted explanation, and I provided two links to studies done by Susan Blackmore and Susan Clancey on this phemonenon. Again, a topic worth of study in and of itself, and if that's the explanation, end of matter.
3. attention seeking. Not to be discounted as an explanation at all. If not from the public at large, then from individual researchers of all stripes, credentialed and otherwise. There you are, on a public forum, on the Anderson Cooper show (what a twit he is), writing about your experience, telling it to a psychologist, family members, friends, and well, oh no, experiencers wouldn't do any of that because of the ridicule. Sure. And there are plenty of credulous people out there ready to give them attention, sympathy, take on their "cases," and on and on. Sure, most just drift off into oblivion, but there are other cases where paydirt, monetarily or in terms of some sort of personal satisfaction, has been gained.
4. Now, if the experiencer continues to feel that revisitation may occur again or feels or senses that it is, wishes for it, feels that that meeting with the alien/aliens/visitors may provide an explanation of what happened during an experience that is genuinely frightening, has time lapse elements, etc., I think a different explanation is possible, and this is my opinion, and I've discussed it before. If numbers 1, 2, and 3 are eliminated, then I think that some sort of inherent yearning within all of us is at play here. I know spirituality/religion are buzzwords here, so I'm using them cautiously, and terming it that inherent yearning for something bigger.
You can see this in another thread, where I've discussed beliefs by many scientists that anthropomorphism is dominating the SETI search, the whole science of thinking about intelligent extraterrestrials beings. This is a psychological phenomenon, and scientists with impressive credentials are not immune to thinking that technological, cultural, historical, biological, etc., evolution has taken place on other worlds MUCH LIKE it has taken place on our planet.
I think a religious yearning (and I use that term cautiously again) exists in all of us, or if you'd prefer, a psychological yearning, to believe in something bigger. I happen to believe in that, but that's as far as I go, I give credence to it as a positive force. But this alien abduction stuff, if it incorporates denial of numbers 1, 2, and 3 as explanations for an experiencer, especially if revisitations are sensed, if totemic representations or drawings are indulged in, if there's a hope for further contact (and this speaks against a belief in sleep paralysis being the explanation by the experiencer), the something else is at work. I think it's a very natural wish for what I've described with the word religion here. Nothing to be ashamed of. Granted, and this is my opinion, I believe that this yearning in ALIEN ABDUCTIONS has taken a very primitive/proto/quasi/remote religious form, but it is that in my opinion that very thing nevertheless. There has been an evolution, culturally and theologically, in religion. But the basic root has been there, certainly in Cro-Magnon, even in Neanderthal man (poor despised fellows!), and who knows in the family tree where it really began, but to deny it within yourself is a form of denial of yourself. If you do that, then you, in my opinion, set yourself up for a form of narcissism that can take the form of malignancy. An alien abduction experiencer might as well give in to it in its quasi/proto form, and acknowledge it. But that's my opinion. But to deny that we have matured over the many centuries this yearning, and it isn't perfect by any means, but to project it onto intelligent extraterrestrials that, really, statistically speaking, are improbable to say the least, is absurd. The Drake equation has more absurdities to it than is acknowledged. We may well be alone in terms of ever, EVER, meeting up with intelligent extraterrestrials, and "alien visitations" and "alien abductions" should be categorically dismissed if it is maintained that an actual alien even possibly may have been involved.
To me, it's as simple as 1, 2, 3, 4. But I may have missed some explanations. Kim